Warning Signs | Don't Reject God's Grace, Day 1
2 Corinthians 12:7-10; 1 Peter 5:6-11
The grace of God is sufficient to carry us through all the ups and downs of life.
Verse of the Day
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
Explain a time in your life that you had to completely rely on God.
At what point did you realize you needed to rely on God?
Has God ever given you a “thorn in your flesh”?
How has this thorn helped you see God differently than before you received it?
Life is full of ups and downs, and so often we try to figure things out on our own and convince ourselves we have control when in reality it is only by the grace of God we have what we have, and are sustained through all of life’s events.
Sometimes we will be given a “thorn in our flesh” as a reminder to lean into the grace of God rather than on ourselves because only through Him are we saved.
Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-8
'So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.’ 2 Corinthians 12:7-8
What is a “thorn in the flesh”?
A thorn is a splinter, stake or pointed object.
Flesh could refer to the physical body or to our sinful nature.
Three common interpretations are:
Physical or psychological ailment
Persecution or opposition
In any case, a “thorn in the flesh” can be understood as something painful or uncomfortable in our lives.
Who gives us the thorns in our flesh?
Just as with Job and Paul, God sometimes allows Satan to inflict thorns in our flesh.
What is the purpose of the “thorn in the flesh”?
The sufferings we face in this life are intended to make us rest in the strength of Christ and rely on the grace of God.
Is it okay to ask God to remove a thorn in your flesh?
Just as Job and Paul both asked God to remove their “thorns”, we are absolutely called to lift all of our cares, worries and burdens to Him.
While lifting them to Him, though, we must have a heart for His will to be done and learn what He wants us to from the afflictions we face.
Sometimes God will not remove “thorns” from our lives because we need the constant reminders to keep leaning on and trusting in Him and His grace.
Read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ' 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV
Do you tend to boast about your weaknesses or your strengths?
Why should we be content with our weaknesses?
Our weaknesses should serve as reminders that we need the strength and grace of God.
God is enough. God provides all that we need out of His grace.
How can we be content with our weaknesses?
Through humility, we should submit ourselves to God’s care and instruction, and through submitting to Him we recognize that He is where our strength comes from. We need His strength to sustain us through life.
Read 1 Peter 5:6-11
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:6-10 ESV
What does it mean to “humble yourself...under the mighty hand of God”?
We need to recognize that we have limits, and we do not have control. God is limitless, and He has all the control.
How can we be watchful and resist Satan, and why is this important?
God provides us with His armor to equip and prepare us against the attacks of Satan.
'Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, ' Ephesians 6:10-18 ESV
Through constant, heartfelt time with God in prayer, in His Word, and with His people we are strengthened in our relationship with, knowledge of, and reliance on Him.
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6 ESV
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12 ESV
Do you ever feel alone in your sufferings?
Does it help you to know that others suffer in the same ways as you?
How has God used your sufferings for your good?
Read Ephesians 2:4-9
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:4-9 ESV
What does it mean to be dead in our trespasses and alive in Christ?
Do people tend to take credit where credit is not due?
How can we acknowledge that all the credit goes to God?
Pray that your group would praise God for showing His glory in such profoundly humble ways. Thank God for giving us value and offering us redemption in Christ. Ask God to help us point others to Christ by humbly serving them like Christ has served us.